4 Ways to Keep your Body Performing at its Peak in the New Year
In this day and age, becoming an extreme athlete is accessible to anyone. No prerequisite training or genetic giftedness is required to resolve to learn Crossfit or sign up for a Spartan Race. With more and more of the general population becoming weekend warriors, the need for a rest day is more important than ever. Whether you’re nursing an injury or trying to prevent one, passive and active rest days are more prevalent than ever.
Active recovery is nothing new. People have been icing, massaging and stretching since the beginning of time. (Perhaps cavemen even used their clubs for myofascial release therapy?) Even though many of these techniques have been around for years, they were once reserved primarily for the professional athlete or for use in the privacy of your home. Now, there are facilities and studios that specialize in injury recovery and prevention as part of your complete fitness program.
Here are a few ways to keep your body performing at its peak:
Foam rolling is used as a form of myofascial release, or self massage. Using a foam cylinder, you leverage your body over the piece of foam, resting your body weight as you move over the roller from one muscle insertion to another. The most common body parts that benefit from a foam rolling massage are in your legs and back: the hamstrings, quadriceps, IT band, latissimus dorsi, piriformis, hip flexors, gastrocnemius, trapezius and rhomboids. Ideally you should spend at least 30 seconds on each major muscle. The goal is to create more flexible and supple fascia, the thin sheath of fibrous tissue enclosing your muscles. Foam rolling also increases circulation in order to speed up recovery and prevent injury. Allow your body to be the guide and back off if needed. Many training studios are now offering group foam rolling classes or private instruction upon request. Check out Infinity Fitness in Westerville for guided foam rolling sessions.
Yoga or functional stretching:
Yoga has expanded and evolved into so many different styles that some may not qualify as active recovery. There are gentle restorative types of yoga, as well as invigorating and intense classes that would qualify as a workout. Regardless of style, most yoga classes will include a combination of stretches, balances, strength postures and breathing techniques. Benefits include increased flexibility, muscle strength and tone, increased energy, weight loss, cardiovascular benefits, injury prevention and more. If you are new to yoga, call ahead and ask questions. Tell the instructor what your goals are and ask what the right style is for you.
Salt Baths or Float Therapy:
Taking an Epsom salt bath is one of the most simple and effective passive recovery methods. Soaking in a salt bath relieves joint pain, reduces stress and exfoliates the skin. It also helps eliminate toxins and heavy metals from the body. To make a salt bath at home, dissolve at least 2 cups (more is even better) of Epsom salt into a tub of hot water. Do check with your physician before soaking in a salt bath; people with certain conditions should not use this method of recovery. If you don’t want to try this at home, there are spas that specialize in salt baths and float therapy. Float Spa at Easton is a new facility that specializes in float therapy.
There are literally hundreds of styles of meditation. All of them could be considered beneficial to physical and mental recovery. Active meditation differs from more traditional methods of meditation, because it encourages moments of not only silence, but also noise and chaos. It usually begins with a series of breathing techniques followed by jumping, screaming, dancing, etc. You then follow up with sequences of stillness and more movement. There are meditation experts and studios that specialize in guided meditation therapies. Om2Ohm in Powell is a great place to start for more information.
Trying a variety of recovery methods can help keep your body and mind better conditioned to accomplish your goals in the new year. Classic methods, like walking in the woods, a gentle bike ride or a swim, will always serve you well. Acupuncture, massage, or aromatherapy can keep you sane and focused. Self care is always on trend. Active and passive recovery is the resolution that helps you keep all other resolutions.
For more information, visit StrongCalmSexy.com.
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